27 January 2009

Local Spotlight - The Loft in Hailey, ID

I usually sell my work through private trunk shows and online, but since I have made the shift to making and promoting my jewelry full time, I decided to find a local shop to carry some of my work, too. The Loft is the only store here in the valley where you can buy my work.

The Loft, in Hailey, is an interesting and beautiful mix of yarn store and art gallery. The owner, Alissa McGonigal, grew up in northern Idaho, and has lived here in Hailey with her husband and 3 children for 8 years. In addition to supporting local artists through her store, Alissa enjoys the many opportunities for playing outdoors here in Idaho, skiing, hiking, and mountain biking. She also loves reading, knitting, and baking. She is a teacher by trade, but fell into the business of running her store/gallery by chance. She started the outdoor Artists' Market in Hailey a few years ago, and met many local artists, looking for a venue to sell their work. Alissa is an avid knitter, and always wanted her own little yarn shop. She decided to marry the two ideas together and came up with a local artists gallery with yarn. She says, "I am surrounded by beautiful work which in turn inspires people to be creative themselves. I am also a business woman by heart. I really like to run my own show."

Through her business, Alissa hopes to promote awareness of our talented, local artists, and help foster a community appreciation for art. Her store offers a place for her to share her knowledge of knitting and passion for the arts, and helps bring monetary success to her fellow artists. She also adds a fun, eclectic shop to downtown Hailey! She says, "I see the Loft getting better and better with each passing year. Years from now, I still see myself supporting artists in any capacity I can think of. Hopefully, I will find more time to create more fiber art of my own."

Alissa is planning a website for The Loft soon. In the meantime, readers can reach her by emailing: theloft202@gmail.com
If you are visiting Sun Valley for summer or winter fun, be sure to stop in! Her store is located at 202 N. Main Street in downtown Hailey, right next to the Sun Valley Brewery. The phone number is (208) 788-5144.

23 January 2009

Pippi's Fairy Crown - Part 2 the work in progress

The end of 2008 became kind of busy, and I didn't get to do any work on my crown until a week or so ago. Since then, I have been working on it a little bit every day, and it has come along nicely! We had some friends over on New Year's Eve, and when I showed the crown to my friend Nicole, she was amazed and told me she imagined herself running through the woods in a flowing gown with the crown on. She also had the really great idea to rent it out for weddings, which I will be looking into once it is finished.

I have been trying to remember to take pictures as I work on it. So often, when I work on a piece, I forget all the steps I took in making it, and I wanted to keep track with this special project. So here are some recent pictures of the crown as the work on it progresses.

16 January 2009 - wiring on the supports.

16 January 2009 - have the support pieces wired into place, and temporarily wired on akoya pearls to see how it will look.

17 January - I have started wiring the beads onto the frame. This picture was taken after another 8 feet of wire and 4 more hours of wrapping. At this rate, I have at least 30 more hours to go before it is done.

20 - 21 January 2009 - finished the first point and wired the second lower pearl on. This crown reminds me of the winters here in Idaho. The frosty white of the pearls reminds me of the winter snow, and the sparkling blue of the faceted labradorite beads makes me think of the bright blue winter skies, and the color of the shadows cast by the trees on the snow.

23 January, 2009 - Wiring more of the beads onto the frame. This is my favorite place in the house to work. I especially like it when the sun is shining through the window on me as I work. That is one of the things I love about wire wrapping, I can easily take it with me, and can work in small spaces. Whenever I go on a car trip, I always bring my wire and tools with me to pass the time in the car.

So, that's what I have up to now. I'll post more later as the work continues.

Thanks for taking a look.
'Til next time!

19 January 2009

Carlos' Birthday Strudel

Today is my husband Carlos' 40th birthday. Instead of making him a cake, I made apple strudel for him, and I took pictures as I worked so I could share the process with all of you.

Both Carlos and I have fond memories of strudel from our childhoods. My mother's parents were from Croatia, and she learned to make it from her mother. I also used to help my mother make strudel when I was a young girl, and I loved it when she made it! We would have strudel for dinner, and eat it until we were ready to burst, then come back to the kitchen in a few hours to eat more! Carlos' mother, who was born in Hungary and grew up in Germany, made strudel when he was growing up, and it was a favorite of his.

Here, I am rolling out and stretching the dough. The dough should be thin enough that you can see through it. My kitchen table is just wide enough that if I roll/stretch the dough out to the side edges, it will just fit in my baking dish after it is rolled.

After the dough is thin enough, I pour melted butter on it and spread it over the whole of the dough before adding the filling.

After I add the sliced apples, I sprinkle it with cinnamon/sugar, fold the edges in, and then it is ready to roll. I roll the dough out on a table cloth, so when it comes time to roll it, I use the cloth to roll it, so it doesn't tear or break as I go.

Then it is into the oven for 35-45 minutes (until it is golden brown), then comes the best part, Eating it! Which I am going to do as soon as I'm done here!

Thanks for joining me!

12 January 2009

Expedition Inspiration

I have so many things to be thankful for in my life - my wonderful husband, my two beautiful daughters, good health, an amazing place to live, work that I love and that fulfills my creative needs, the ability to create beauty out of bits of stone and wire. With all these gifts in my life, I feel a strong need to give back to the world, and my favorite way is by donating my work to help raise funds for worthwhile causes. There are a couple of local organizations that I particularly like to support, and I just finished up a special necklace this past weekend for an upcoming fund raising event for one of them.

Expedition Inspiration is an organization which raises awareness and monies to benefit breast cancer research through research project funding, public education, and patient support. Additionally, through organized and sponsored outdoor endeavors, Expedition Inspiration promotes the physical and mental well being of breast cancer survivors. Last year was the first year I donated jewelry for the silent auction at their annual Twilight Snowshoe Celebration. The Event will take place this year on February 14th at the elegant Elkhorn Springs Restaurant in Sun Valley. Funds raised during these events are used to support promising young researchers in the field of breast cancer and also help fund the 13th Annual Laura Evans Memorial Breast Cancer Symposium to be held in Sun Valley late February entitled, “Using Bioinformatics to Transform Breast Cancer”.

Last year, I didn't find out about the event until the last minute, and so donated jewelry
I had already made, but this year, I decided to make a special piece just for the event. Expedition Inspiration has a really lovely logo, that I reproduced in wire as the centerpiece of a necklace. Just the centerpiece alone took over 15 feet of wire and a solid 8 hours for me to complete. The necklace has over 35 feet total of sterling and fine silver wire, and took 15 hours of work to finish. Definitely a labor of love! And I love that my jewelry can make a difference in the lives of so many others!

To find out more about Expedition Inspiration and their work, check out their website here:

The best to all of you!

04 January 2009

Anderson Creek Back Country Ski Trip 4 January, 2009

Today was our first backcountry ski trip , not only of the year, but of the season. We did not get snow here until the last few weeks, and when we did get snow, we got several feet of powder with no base, so it has only recently stabilized to the point where we felt safe to ski.

We are very careful when we venture out into the backcountry. We monitor the avalanche reports daily, as well as the weather at the snotel sites where we like to ski. Snotel sites are weather data collection stations which are installed, operated, and maintained by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). They are an extensive, automated system to collect snowpack and related climatic data in the Western United States. They are called SNOTEL for SNOwpack TELemetry.

We also wear avalanche beacons, and carry shovels and probes, hoping we never have to use them! We tend to ski in areas that are less than 30 degrees in angle, as these areas are not likely to slide. As we start skinning in to the area we want to ski in, we also do beacon checks to make sure everybody's beacons are in working order. The couple we ski with are also very careful, and we have taken avalanche safety classes with them, so we all know what to do in an emergency.

Why do we go to all this trouble, when we can ski at the resort, and ride the lifts, and not have to worry about avalanche danger (on groomed runs)? Because there is nothing to compare with the splendors of the mountains and backcountry in the winter! The sun glistening off of the snow, the fresh alpine air, the quiet! It is amazing! As usual, I brought my camera, so I could share some of the beautiful country we saw with you.